The 109th annual international Rotary convention is in Toronto this weekend!

Chances are, you’ll be seeing quite a few Rotarians roaming the city. And with good reason. The meeting brings 24,000 Rotary club members from more than 175 countries to Toronto.

Rotary is expected to inject an estimated $48.5 million into the local economy. But it’s so much more than that. This will be the single largest convention that Toronto has hosted in the past five years and the largest multicultural gathering based on the number of countries represented for a convention in the city’s history.

Often described as a “mini-United Nations”, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and Air Canada Centre will be transformed into a cultural mosaic. The organization’s global network of volunteers are gathering to exchange ideas on how to improve lives and bring positive, lasting change to communities around the world. That’s certainly something Torontonians believe in, too.

Rotary clubs address community needs at home and connect with clubs abroad to promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children and grow local economies. The convention exhibits innovative and lasting solutions to these and other humanitarian challenges, and inspire others who share a passion for enhancing and improving lives, everywhere.

This will be the fifth time that Rotary has chosen to host their meeting in Toronto, and the first that the region has hosted since 1983. It took a lot of work to get here. Tourism Toronto led the bid process for Rotary 2018, working for several years to secure the convention for Toronto.

It makes sense that Toronto is this year’s host. Rotary’s cultural make-up, with so many countries represented, echoes our own diversity where more than half of the population was born outside of Canada. Part of the benefits of being a city known for diversity and inclusion means getting the opportunity to host a convention of this size and scope.

With the spirit of true Canadian (and Torontonian) hospitality, join me in giving a warm welcome to Rotarians from around the world. Now let’s show them all of the remarkable experiences that Toronto has to offer.

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